Monday, July 22, 2019

Diversity In Genetics Studies

Ever since 2003, when the human genome was first sequenced, more than 3700 studies have lead to the discovery of varying genetic risk factors and functions. Potential risk factors leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s or diabetes, or potential defects that lead to heart disease all reside in the human genome. Since genetic make-up is extremely variable and nearly completely unique to each individual, are scientists collecting data from an equally variable and unique sample size?

The Genome Wide Association Studies show that out of 3639 studies and 3508 traits that 88% of research was made up of European Ancestry. 72% of discoveries were from participants in three countries; US, UK, and Iceland. Only 12.3% of discoveries were of Asian ancestry, while 0.3% of discoveries were of African ancestry. Such a low percentage should come to surprise since a staggering 76.2% of the worlds population is of African or Asian ancestry.

In summation, the human genome should include a better sample of humans. Researchers and funders may want to retroactively reproduce research once saturated with a specific ancestry, and target other ancestries to diversify the sampling pool. There may be certain gene expressions and pedigrees that remain completely unfounded, because the opportunity has not be afforded to all to participate.

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